FOX Fast Facts: Pope Benedict XVI

Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927, on the Saturday before Easter — to parents named Josef and Mary — and was baptized the same day in the small Bavarian town of Marktl Am Inn. Click here for a more complete profile of Pope Benedict XVI.

FOX Fast Facts: Pope Benedict XVI Biography | FOX Fast Facts: Timeline of Pope Benedict XVI's Life

FOX Fast Facts: Pope Benedict XVI Biography

• Pope Benedict XVI was elected on April 19, 2005, making him the 265th spiritual leader of the Catholic Church.

• Benedict XVI is the Catholic Church's first German pope since the 11th century; he is also the oldest pope to be elected in 275 years.

• Benedict XVI was born April 16, 1927 in Marktl Am Inn, Germany as Joseph Alois Ratzinger.

• Ratzinger's father was a policeman.

• Ratzinger was enrolled in the Nazi youth movement against his will at the age of 14.

• Ratzinger deserted the Germany army in May 1945.

• Ratzinger spent several weeks as the prisoner of a U.S. POW camp; once released, he entered the seminary.

• Ratzinger's brother Georg is also a priest.

• Ratzinger first gained worldwide attention as a liberal theological adviser at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

• Before being elected to the Catholic Church's top post, Cardinal Ratzinger served as bishop of Munich and was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

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FOX Fast Facts: Timeline of Pope Benedict XVI's Life

April 16, 1927: Born in Marktl am Inn in Germany's southern region of Bavaria near Austrian border on the day before Easter. Baptized the same day.

1929: Family moves to town of Tittmoning.

1932: Family moves to Traunstein after father has conflicts with Nazi Party supporters in Tittmoning.

1941: Enrolled against his will in Hitler Youth group. Dismissed shortly afterward because of intention to study for the priesthood.

1943: Drafted as helper for Nazi anti-aircraft unit. Served in battery defending BMW plant.

Sept. 10, 1944: Dismissed from Nazi unit. Returns home to find draft notice for forced labor.

Sept. 20, 1944: Leaves home to dig anti-tank trenches.

November, 20, 1944: Released from labor force. Returns home, but receives army draft notice three weeks later.

April-May, 1945: Deserts German army and returns home. Captured by Americans as war ends.

June 19, 1945: Released from U.S. POW camp, hitchhikes home on milk truck.

November, 1945: Begins study for priesthood in Friesing.

June 29, 1951: Ordained a priest along with brother Georg.

1953: Receives doctorate in theology, University of Munich.

1959: Begins teaching theology in Bonn; first of several appointments in German universities.

1969: Leaves University of Tuebingen, concerned about student unrest. Takes teaching job in Regensburg in native Bavaria, near brother Georg.

March 1977: Named archbishop of Munich.

June 1977: Elevated to rank of cardinal by Pope Paul VI.

November, 1981: Summoned to Rome as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II.

April 19, 2005: Elected Pope Benedict XVI.

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